In Constantinople childhood was short lived. Once the boys and girls reached puberty around the ages of twelve for girls and fourteen for boys they were permitted to marry and have a house of their own to raise their possible future children. The newlyweds however could choose to stay virgins despite the fact that having children raised your status in society. Back then I could understand why marrying two children became a practice; both of the participating parties were young children, education was not a factor, they had the decision to stay virgins if they wanted to, and more than 50% of the population was males under the age of twenty, and 46% of the females were under 15 (James pg. 82). Due to these reasons it is understandable why children so young got married. Today this is not the case! Child Marriage is a global problem that not only sweeps across the world it intertwines many cultures, religions, and ethnicities. This practice may have been ok throughout the Byzantine era but this should no longer be acceptable today. For the reasons of reduced access to education, increased risk of domestic violence and health problems; the tradition of forcing young girls to be child brides should be stopped.
Education was really only if you had money and if you were a boy in Byzantine. If girls did in fact receive an education because of their family’s wealth, they only got the minimal information there was to offer before they had to stay home to help mom take care of the house. Due to the fact that going to school cost money, many poor villagers could not afford to go. Instead the boys and girls would stay home and learn the crafts of their parents. Today education is offered to all children but is not always free. Even when tuition is free, there are often expenses for lunch, uniforms, and examination fees if any. In developing countries where the occurrence of a child bride is very much a reality, girls attend primary school but are not likely to finish it because their parents take them out to marry them off. Orton Kiishweko who wrote, Why Child Brides are Likely to Die Young, states that “Child marriages account for the high illiteracy rates in the country (Africa) as only 6 per cent of girls complete the full primary school cycles” (pg. 2). The parents mentality is that sense they can no longer afford to care for their daughter they want to insure that she has a better future by marrying her off to a man who can care for her. Once an opportunity opens up for a man to take their daughter to wed they jump at the opportunity because they often barley have enough food to feed the entire family as it is. Or perhaps they have an alliance with another family and in order to pay off their debt to them they offer their daughter for marriage. (National geographic live). Either way this is not solving the problem! By not allowing their daughters to get an education they are just adding to the cycle of poverty. “A study in Pakistan measuring returns on education showed that extending a girl’s schooling by one year led to a 13% to 18% increase in her wages” (Lemmon pg.2). So when a girl is able to stay in school to have an education instead of becoming a child bride her family will benefit more in the long run.
The second reason why the tradition of child brides across the world should be stopped, is when these young girls are married they often are wed to men three times their age who will raise them to the wives they need to be (National geographic live). Child marriage goes against two human rights violations, the right to choose when you marry and whom you do it to as well as the right to sexual consent. Both are defiantly being violated in the practice of marrying young girls off (Jeannine pg.3). Congresswomen Betty McCollum (D-MN) argues, “When young girls become wives, it is socially sanctioned sexual abuse” (Jeannine pg. 2). Girls who get married as young as seven are at risk for domestic violence and